Archive for: February, 2019

Australian students kick-starting careers in Indonesia under New Colombo Plan

Feb 20 2019 Published by under 南京夜网

Australian students (clockwise from back left) Bridget Harilaou, Rebecca Lawrence, Harrison Hall and Thomas Brown are studying in Indonesia under the New Colombo Plan. Photo: Latika Bourke David Hill says sending Australian students to Indonesia can improve the bilateral relationship when political tensions arise. Photo: Latika Bourke
Nanjing Night Net

It was a shock to his own parents, Thomas Brown says, when he told them that the overseas university where he wanted to enrol was not the hallowed institutions of Cambridge or Oxford but one in Indonesia.

Chatting over the call to prayer at lunchtime in downtown Yogyakarta, the capital of Java, the New Colombo scholar says his parents couldn’t understand his decision to head north instead of across the Indian ocean to Europe.

“I think that reflects the generational issue, they didn’t see the value in going to Indonesia to study at all,” he says.

The New Colombo plan is one of the Coalition’s signature policies and aims to lift engagement in the Indo-Pacific through a mix of internships and scholarships.

Fellow scholar, 21-year old Bridget Harilaou’s Indonesian-born mother initially shared the same sentiments. “She didn’t understand – ‘why would you go back to the place I escaped from?’ she’d say,” Harilaou recounts with a smile. “Now she understands though.”

But is it purely generational? “I get it so much from other students in Australia,” 20-year old Rebecca Lawrence says. “My parents are definitely scared of volcanoes and terrorism but all my friends have gone to Europe or the UK and say ‘I can’t believe you’ve gone to Indonesia, it’s too hot, Europe’s much nicer’.”

Harrison Hall, 22, is studying finance and wants to go into business so choosing to study in Asia rather than Europe was simple.

“For the industries I’m hoping to enter, Australian trading in Asia is so much stronger in comparison with what we do in Europe or North America. It’s a smarter study choice and the travel opportunities are there, too,” he says.

Thomas Brown wants to work in development and “Indonesia is a great place for Australians to get a start in development”.

Under the Kuliah Kerja Nyata (field study service) program, domestic university students have to complete community service work. International students studying development often choose to take part as well.

This led Brown to his most challenging experience yet – Indonesian village life.

​ “Living in a village was really hard for me,” he says. Firstly there was the language barrier. Despite intensive Bahasa Indonesia lessons Brown turned up for his community service in the province of Java only to find everyone speaking the local language – Javanese – a completely different language. (Bahasa Indonesia is spoken in the national capital Jakarta but there are more than 300 languages and dialects spoken across Indonesia’s islands.)

“There was seven of us and we lived in the head of the village’s house, four boys in one room and three girls in the other room. It was really hot and were sharing a bathroom (with a squat not Western toilet) with 20 other people – it was not without its challenges,” he says.

But village life gave Brown an important insight into the process of implementing aid programs and getting things done in Indonesia.

“To see how much bureaucracy there is, even at a basic village level, you have to have meetings and there has to be a process … it’s such a good experience to know that when you’re trying to implement something how hard it can be even at that micro level,” he says.

“When I went back to Australia and I was in development classes I realised this is actually something a lot of people haven’t seen for themselves.”

It’s a far cry from what Rebecca Lawrence’s friends think she’s up to while abroad. “My friends would think I was in Bali the whole time and walking around in a bikini and drinking.It’s a majority Muslim country – these are the two things you don’t do,” she laughs.

Lawrence’s grasp of local life is the sort of cultural insight the New Colombo policy is aimed at generating as Australia looks to deepen its trade, economic and services links with Asia. To date, 10,000 students have been supported to study in 32 countries including Mongolia, India and the Cook Islands.

There are basic life skills to learn: finding a boarding house (or kosan) to live in, buying water, electricity and Wi-Fi, adapting to a formal and respectful dress code in a tropical climate, but the quartet are unanimous in agreeing that life in Indonesia is, for the most part, extremely welcoming – and fun.

Lawrence is on her second stay in Indonesia. The first six months was such a “culture shock” that she wanted to come back better prepared to navigate and enjoy Indonesia’s complexity.

“It’s actually a fantastic place, university is challenging and learning the language is hard but you can travel, the cost of living is low and we have a lot of spare time and everyone gets along, everyone is so friendly,” she says.

All have developed a keen interest in Indonesia, its news and politics and dabble in online commentary on Indonesian-Australian issues. They are avid consumers of Indonesian news when back home in Australia and use Facebook and Snapchat to provide glimpses into Indonesian life, beyond Bali, for their friends and family.

“The misconceptions are greater on the Australian side,” Harilaou says. “I’m using social media and it’s helped more than anything with my friends and geography, our little status updates, our photos: I think they make a difference.”

This sort of soft diplomacy has the potential to transform public understanding of the relationship when political tensions arise, says Professor David Hill, who heads the Australian Consortium for In-Country Indonesian Studies (ACICIS).

“When there’s an event that creates tension between the two countries, it’s often the conversation around the cafeteria or the lunchroom in a workspace which forms public attitudes in Australia just as much as it is pronouncements from government,” he says.

Hill wrote a report in 2012 declaring Indonesian language learning in Australian education was “in crisis” with fewer Year 12 students studying Indonesian in 2009 compared with 1972. Enrolments in Indonesian university studies dropped 37 per cent last decade, despite the overall undergraduate population growing by 40 per cent. His report predicted that without change, by 2022 Indonesian studies would be gone from all universities except in Victoria and the NT.

It is the story of Australia’s on and off again relationship with Asian and Asian language studies.

In the ’70s, Bahasa Indonesia was in vogue. Now politicians are stressing Mandarin studies given the economy’s dependence on China. ACICIS itself hopes to expand and diversify the countries and languages it promotes to Australian students including India (Hindi) and Vietnamese. It received $2.16 million of funding under the New Colombo Plan in 2016.

The New Colombo Plan is a revived program that subsidises Australian students studying in Asian universities. It is Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s pet policy, although critics question why the Australian government would fund comparatively richer students to go to Asia, instead of concentrating on bringing Asian students to Australia to study.

ACICIS confronts this perception, too. It has tried, unsuccessfully so far, to interest the business sector in helping fund and create programs placing Australian students in Indonesia.

“A common response we get from organisations is that they are more attracted to providing scholarships to Indonesian students or to fund Indonesian educational institutions here rather than to support a program that benefits Australian students,” Hill says.

And on one crude metric this failure to stoke an Australian interest in Asia shows.

In Susilo Bambang Yudohoyono’s last Cabinet four ministers had either studied at or graduated from Australian universities. By contrast, the number of Australian Ministers who have studied in Indonesia is zero.

“I doubt any would be able to hold a basic conversation in Indonesian,” Hill says.

Some are learning. Last year, Chris Bowen, Labor’s Treasury spokesman and potential future leader, began Bahasa Indonesia language studies. His NSW colleague Stephen Jones has also taken up lessons.

They reflect the minority of Australians learning another language, despite the hype around the so-called “Asian Century”.

In almost all OECD countries, students finish high school with a foreign language except Australia and just 10 per cent of students here are studying a foreign language, compared with 40 per cent in the 1960s.

Arresting this decline will take more than New Colombo.

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Brazilian butt lift victim Evita Sarmonikas’ sister fights for justice in Mexico

Feb 20 2019 Published by under 南京夜网

Evita Sarmonikas (left) with her mother, Maria, and sister, Andrea. Photo: Seven Network Evita Sarmonikas, 29, died during a cosmetic procedure on March 20, 2015. Photo: Andrew Darby
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Andrea Sarmonikas, left, with her sister Evita. Photo: Andrew Darby

Maria Sarmonikas: “I just want some answers to finish all of this.” Photo: Seven Network

One of her daughters died during a cosmetic procedure in Mexico. Now Maria Sarmonikas wants her other daughter to return home from her year-long mission of retribution.

Evita Sarmonikas, 29, died on the operating table in March last year while undergoing surgery to enhance her buttocks in the medical tourism hot-spot of Mexicali, leaving her mother, Maria, and sister, Andrea, bereft.

An initial autopsy found that Ms Sarmonikas had died of a heart attack, but a second autopsy commissioned by the family pointed to a more suspicious set of circumstances that roused heartbroken Andrea to leave her Gold Coast home and ensure the surgeon was held to account.

As part of that task, Andrea campaigned for education surrounding cosmetic surgery and began an investigation into the background of Dr Victor Ramirez which will culminate in a television confrontation on Seven’s Sunday Night program on Sunday.

The second autopsy report revealed that while Dr Ramirez was performing a “Brazilian butt lift” on Ms Sarmonikas, her lung was punctured four times.

Dr Ramirez, who Kim Kardashian once threatened to sue for using her image on a billboard, has also been implicated in the deaths of other patients and is facing charges of homicide and operating outside his licence over Ms Sarmonikas’ death, according to the investigation by Seven.

Andrea, however, is showing no signs of returning to Australia and the homicide case is not expected to be listed until the end of the year.

“Seven women have reached out directly to me,” Andrea told Seven.

“Three deaths that we know of direct evidence – Evita is one of those. Another three that we still don’t know names and we still don’t know causes. And we need those families to come forward.

“If I don’t do this now, someone else is going to die. While the doors keep opening I will continue because this doctor needs to be stopped.”

Mum Maria Sarmonikas has an extra motivation in wanting a resolution to the case against Evita’s surgeon – she wants her daughter Andrea to come home.

“I just want some answers to finish all of this,” she said.

“I want Andrea back, start life again because she left everything to find justice for her sister.”

Andrea wants doctors who specialise in cosmetic procedures to be given specific training in cosmetic surgery, even if they are already qualified plastic surgeons.

Credibility within the field of cosmetic surgery has long been a bone of contention.

In Australia, plastic surgeons need to be fellows of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons [RACS], which has training programs in various types of surgery including a unit on cosmetic surgery.

But it is possible for doctors to become cosmetic surgeons without having qualified as a surgeon through the RACS.

The Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgeons [ACCS] is attempting to improve standards by offering a two-year course in cosmetic surgery and is lobbying the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency for it to be accredited and mandated for those who want to practise as cosmetic surgeons.

ACCS spokesman Anoop Rastogi said consumers needed more clarity over the difference between cosmetic and plastic surgeons.

“In Australia, the medical profession as a whole is well regulated and so is cosmetic surgery,” Dr Rastogi said.

“The problem with that is Australians are very comfortable with the safety of it and they think that’s the case everywhere, and that’s the problem with medical tourism.”

Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons vice president Gazi Hussein said he supported moves to improve safety in the industry, but it was unnecessary to form a new specialty for cosmetic surgery when adequate training existed through the RACS.

Evita’s story airs tonight on Sunday Night at 8pm on Seven.

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Meet Hamdi Alqudsi, the extremist who says he loves Australia

Feb 20 2019 Published by under 南京夜网

Mohammad Ali Baryalei become Hamdi Alqudsi’s key contact in Syria. Hamdi Alqudsi is the first Australian to be prosecuted for helping people fight in Syria. Photo: Daniel Munoz
Nanjing Night Net

Confronted with the reality of one of the world’s bloodiest conflicts, a handful of Hamdi Alqudsi’s young Australian wannabe jihadists wanted out.

Safe in suburban south-western Sydney where he was splitting his time between two wives, a frustrated Alqudsi bemoaned the quality of the “brothers” he was sending to the frontlines of Syria’s brutal civil war.

“It’s causing us embarrassment. It’s no good, man, It’s no good. Whoever goes should know they can’t come back. Whoever goes can’t come back,” he complained to an associate in a telephone call.

At least two of Alqudsi’s recruits never got the chance to return, dying while they fought for rival terrorist organisations less than a year after he helped them slip into Syria.

The 42-year-old was on Thursday jailed until at least 2022 after being found guilty by a jury of seven counts of providing services with the intention of supporting engagement in armed hostilities in Syria in 2013.

He is the first Australian to be prosecuted for helping men fight in the war-torn country, and the office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions described the case as setting an “important precedent”.

While Alqudsi was charged with helping seven men, evidence presented during his trial suggests he led many more would-be martyrs to the frontlines of the war.

NSW Police’s Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn has previously said Alqudsi was believed to be the “principal person” involved in the facilitation network sending Australians to fight in Syria.

Born in Palestine and a Sunni Muslim, Alqudsi migrated to Australia with his parents, three brothers and his sister when he was 11 due the unrest in the Middle East. They had extended family in Australia and Alqudsi went to public schools in Lakemba, Lidcombe and Marrickville before he finished his Higher School Certificate in Glebe.

His father owned a video shop and his mother was a housewife with Alqudsi describing them as “moderate Muslims” who usually only went to mosque for Friday prayers.

After finishing high school Alqudsi briefly studied metal engineering at TAFE, but left to work as a security guard adding Sydney City Eye Hospital, Star City Casino and Armaguard to his resume.

He was sacked from a security instructor role for corruption in 2006, and later took up employment as a packer at Woolworths but injured his back and neck and was paid workers’ compensation.

With free time and financial security, Alqudsi seems to have turned his attention to charity and community works. He embarked on a two-month trip to Somalia to help orphans, volunteered at the Campbelltown Youth Centre and organised fundraising barbecues for Syrian refugees.

Splitting from his wife of nine years, Alqudsi married Carnita Matthews and became stepfather to her seven children.

Matthews would be at the centre of a media storm when she was prosecuted for falsely accusing a police officer of trying to rip off her veil during a random breath test in 2010. She successfully appealed her conviction.

“[He] was the perfect match for me cause he couldn’t have kids but always wanted kids, so he took me and my children with two hands and cherished us all like his own,” Matthews wrote in a reference for Alqudsi.

“He raised my children better than I could have ever asked for. He taught them to be respectful, honest and taught them the right way to conduct themselves in every aspect of life.”

Alqudsi also started a relationship with another woman, Moutia Elzahed, and divided his time between his two wives and their children in St Helens Park and Revesby.

Family members describe Alqudsi as a caring and inspiring man, who loves fishing and camping and does the cooking and cleaning for his sick parents.

“Since the day he was born he has been always a funny child, always respectful with amazing heart of gold,” his mother Arifeh Alqudsi wrote.

While he was outgoing and charismatic, even performing match-making services in the Islamic community, medical records show Alqudsi has been diagnosed with a major depressive disorder.

It was in 2012 that he met Mohammad Ali Baryalei, the Kings Cross bouncer and Underbelly extra who would soon become his key contact in Syria and one of Australia’s most senior members of the Islamic State.

Soon after he had taken up arms in Syria, a distressed and not yet infamous Baryalei called Alqudsi and described how his “commander” had been shot to death in front of him.

“I don’t wanna be here man. I’m over it. I’m over it. Why would you want to live in this rubbish for? Why would you want to live in this rubbish for?” he sobbed.

Only a week after this dramatic call, the first of Alqudsi’s “brothers” left Australia.

Alqudsi told one of the men, who had crossed the border from Turkey into Syria under a hail of gunfire in July 2013, how “happy and proud” he was.

“A few weeks ago you were sitting eating ice-cream,” he laughed in a phone call. “Are they absorbing what Allah is putting them through? [Do] the boys feel it’s reality now?”

The men wanted to fight against the Assad regime, and they ended up joining groups including Ahrar Al-Sham, Jabhat Al-Nusra and the IS who were also fighting against each other.

But it seems Alqudsi did not have any real understanding of the military or political situation in Syria, and the men themselves probably did not know much about who they would join when they arrived.

“As long as we are with a group that’s not going to smoke, that’s going to follow the straight path, that’s all we care about,” Alqudsi said in one call with Baryalei.

On the home front, Alqudsi was kept busy dealing with the family of the departed men. He told the young wife of one man that she needed to accept she had sold her husband to paradise.

“No matter how much you pray, no matter how many anyone prays, he’s not going to come back finish, so hope has to be broken, listen to me, I am talking to you as a friend and as a brother, so hope has to go,” he said.

When he mistakenly thought that Baryalei had died, Alqudsi quickly started organising a banquet, suggesting they stuff a lamb with rice, to celebrate his martyrdom.

Alqudsi claimed he never encouraged or exploited the men, and they all approached him because they wanted to defend unarmed civilians against the Syrian government.

Their discussions mostly happened in the form of a shura, an Arabic term for a consultation or council meeting, at the now-closed Al-Risalah Islamic Centre in Bankstown.

In her sentencing remarks, Justice Christine Adamson said the men were not recruited and were all willing volunteers but it was clear that Alqudsi considered himself the commander of the operation.

He was referred to as a “coach” and discussed needing the “right players to be in the soccer club”.

“I’m in charge of the whole thing, you have to understand,” he said in a phone call with one of the men. “I’m not asking you as a friend, I’m asking as someone responsible for you.”

He gave the travellers information and advice on hotels, currencies, transport routes, how to deal with their families and address security problems and what to wear to avoid attention.

“Make sure they shave their beards OK? I’m going to tell you straight make sure all the boys shave their beards, dress tourist,” he warned.

While Alqudsi said he did not know he was breaking the law, he used rudimentary code involving soccer and medical metaphors during phone discussions about Syria.

He also took out multiple mobile phone subscriptions using fake names and addresses, and switched between messaging applications in a bid to hide his communications.

“May Allah blind the eyes of these dogs on me and my brothers,” he said in one call.

Alqudsi told some of the men in Syria that he was desperate to join them – requesting information about the prices of weapons, the food they ate, the bathroom conditions – but his promises turned out to be little more than words.

“There is no indication that he was willing to sacrifice either his life or his liberty for ‘the cause’, however he defined it,” Justice Adamson said.

His network unravelled in December 2013, when police raided the properties he shared with his wives, finding among a trove of jihadist literature a handwritten note detailing the provision of $3000 to the families of the shaheed (martyrs) and $2000 for “getting people”.

His legal team unsuccessfully attempted to have the offence provision under which he had been charged declared unconstitutional and also failed in a bid to have him tried without a jury.

Alqudsi remained calm during his trial earlier this year but after being found guilty and spending six weeks in prison as an AA National Security-classified inmate the strain on him was clear.

Giving evidence for the first time at this sentencing hearing, Alqudsi admitted that he knew the men planned to take up arms against the Syrian government but maintained it was part of a “humanitarian mission”.

Terrorist was not a word with which he wanted to, or thought he deserved to be, associated. He only ever wanted, he maintained, to be a “caring big brother” to the men and help unarmed civilians.

“We are not terrorists man, we love Australia, we are Australians,” he wept.

Of the seven boys he was charged with helping, Caner Temel and Tyler Casey died fighting and the fate of Mahmoud Abed Aboshi and Nassim Elbahsa are not known.

Muhammad Abdul-Karim Musleh and Mehmet Biber returned to Australia, while Amin Mohamed never made it out of the country and is awaiting sentencing after being found guilty of three offences.

After Justice Adamson handed down her sentence, Alqudsi and his supporters in court held their index fingers up, a gesture that is usually linked to the symbolic meaning of “One God”.

“See you soon brother,” one called out. The men who wanted to go to SyriaHamdi Alqudsi helped these men plan to go to Syria The “brothers”Tyler Casey Also known as: Abu Qaqa, Yusuf Ali Casey and his wife, Amira Karroum, who lived in Granville, are believed to have died when they were shot by a rival Syrian rebel group in Aleppo in January 2014. Born into a large Christian family in the US, Casey converted to Islam as a teenager. Casey left for Syria in mid-2013, while Karroum joined him in January the following year. Caner Temel Also known as: Abu MoussaTemel, 22, from Auburn, was reportedly killed when he was shot in the head by a rebel sniper while fighting for the IS in January 2014. He left Australia in mid-2013, meeting up with Baryalei who was already fighting in Syria. Temel had joined the Australia Army in 2009, but was discharged in 2010 after going AWOL. Muhammad Abdul-Karim Musleh Also known as: Abu Hassan Musleh allegedly left Australia in mid 2013, crossing the Turkish border into Syria alongside Casey, Temel and Biber. He arrived back in Australia about 10 days later, with Alqudsi describing his return as a “catastrophe” in an intercepted phone call played to the court. Mahmoud Abed Aboshi Also known as: Abu Alim Aboshi told Alqudsi that he had crossed the border into Syria in July 2013. “When we were crossing the border, I mean, there were gunshots and praise be to Allah, on top of us and it was beautiful,” he said in an intercepted phone call played to the court. The fate of Abu Alim is not known. Amin Mohamed Also known as: Abu Bilal, a New Zealand citizen who had been living in Melbourne, Mohamed was charged after he was stopped at Brisbane international airport in September 2013. He pleaded not guilty to three counts of preparing to enter a foreign state to engage in hostile activities, saying that he wanted to move to Syria to help people. He was found guilty by a Supreme Court jury in October 2015, and is being held in an immigration detention centre until his expected sentencing hearing later this year. Nassim Elbahsa Also known as: Abu Bakr. The whereabouts of Elbahsa are not known. The court heard that Alqudsi received a picture of Elbahsa and Biber together in October 2013. Biber, who sent the image, referred to Elbahsa as the “brother u sent to us jst now” and said he was considering bringing his family over to join him. “Ye he gna try n get all of them to come God willing … They dnt have any issues with muhajireen bringing family here,” Biber wrote.

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Get Qualified Australia subject to a freezing order amid ACCC investigation

Feb 20 2019 Published by under 南京夜网

David Barclay at work. Photo: iPhotocommercial/Craig Burrow A Get Qualified Australia spokesman said the company had always been honest with its policies and guarantees. Photo: Get Qualified Australia website
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Get Qualified Australia offers a range of qualifications for the Skills Recognition and Recognition of Prior Learning scheme. Photo: Get Qualified Australia website

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It has been eight months since David Barclay was able to work as a painter after his experience with an education consultancy group left him out of pocket and without the qualifications he needed.

The 39-year-old painter was applying for a new job in November last year, when he was informed he would need his 10 years’ experience formally recognised by a Certificate III in Painting and Decorating.

Seeking the trade certificate, Mr Barclay made an inquiry with Get Qualified Australia Pty Ltd, a consultancy that matches jobseekers with registered training organisations that can issue qualifications for a range of industries, such as construction, business or beauty.

The company, which describes itself as “Australia’s leading Skills Recognition & Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Specialist,” has been the subject of a successful freezing order brought against it by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission pending possible legal action.

“I would never touch an RPL process again…I would have to be crazy,” Mr Barclay told Fairfax Media, after first dealing with Get Qualified Australia in November last year.

“After my first inquiry, Get Qualified called and texted me every day for two weeks, they seemed so intent on selling me something,” Mr Barclay said.

“They told me there would be a fee of around $2500 for the certificate, and my experience made me eligible. But after I had already paid $1300 I found out I was not actually eligible for the certificate. They never should have issued it to me.”

Mr Barclay has since been battling to obtain a refund from Get Qualified Australia, who he said “insists” the only way forward is to continue paying his account and claim the certificate, for which he is not qualified.

“They sent a debt collector out to me immediately upon denying my refund,” Mr Barclay said. “That was when I contacted the ACCC, the Queensland Ombudsman of Education Training and then the Queensland Department of Fair Trading.”

Get Qualified Australia became the subject of a freezing order until September 10 due to a “danger or real risk” that assets might disappear. It followed a large number of consumer complaints, which have the potential to result in refunds in excess of $1 million. The temporary freezing order does not affect the company’s ability to continue to make payments in the ordinary course of business.

The company also appeared on NSW Fair Trading’s consumer Complaints Register in July for having been the subject of at least 10 complaints in the month.

In his judgement, federal court judge Jonathan Beach said there was evidence that Get Qualified Australia had represented that consumers were eligible for qualifications, when it had no basis for doing so, while possibly using “unfair tactics and impos[ing] undue pressure on consumers.”

Justice Beach referred to consumer complaints and evidence that suggested the company had made false representations about refunds in their marketing and claimed to apply “eligibility criteria” for granting refunds, which were not made clear to consumers before they signed up.

At the hearing, Get Qualified Australia disputed the evidence put forward by the ACCC and maintained it had not engaged in any wrongdoing. In granting the freezing order, Justice Beach had to decide only whether the ACCC had an arguable case.

He said the freezing order was justified by the fact Get Qualified Australia and its CEO, Adam Wadi, had made numerous transfers of significant sums of money to recipients in Jordan and the UAE since last year, and that recent and significant transfers to the Philippines suggested some parts of the company’s operations may have already moved offshore.

Mr Wadi told Fairfax Media the company would defend any allegations “vigorously”.

“In the interim, we will continue to cooperate and work with the Australian regulators whether that be the ACCC or ASQA, to provide any documentation they require.”

A statement from a Get Qualified Australia spokesman said the company had always been honest with its policies and guarantees.

“Unfortunately, on occasion some customers believed they could provide evidence to support their competency in a particular unit when in fact they were not able to do so.”

He added that “international expansion plans” had resulted in “new offshore service roles.”

Since March 2013, the education consultancy has assisted about 7250 candidates in trying obtain a formal qualification provided by a registered training organisation, according to Justice Beach’s judgement. Of those, 4056 have obtained qualifications.

Registered training organisations, which are accredited to deliver vocational education and training services, are regulated by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA).

Get Qualified Australia is not a registered training organisation, however it partners with training organisations who are regulated by ASQA to provide assessment services.

A spokesperson for ASQA told Fairfax Media earlier this month it had issued a notice of intention to cancel the registration of three training providers owned by Get Qualified Australia, after 11 complaints alleged they were non-compliant with the VET Quality Framework.

The ACCC is still investigating whether Get Qualified Australia has engaged in a pattern of behaviour amounting to unconscionable conduct.

From his Sunshine Coast home, Mr Barclay said he was still feeling the effects of his experience with Get Qualified Australia since filing his complaints in January.

“I’m only just recovering and I can’t work in the industry. This is a small town, so everyone in the trade wonders what happened with my trade certificate, why didn’t I get it?

“They have no idea of the kind of damage they are doing to low-income earners.”

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‘There would be thousands of victims’: how the crimes of Brother Paschal Bartlett were kept quiet

Feb 20 2019 Published by under 南京夜网

The Franciscan Order will make a public statement about Brother Paschal Bartlett. The Franciscan Friars will also upgrade their website to provide sex abuse victims with information on how to seek support.
Nanjing Night Net

The sex crimes of Brother Paschal Bartlett were as numerous as they were horrific.

A member of the Franciscan order, he supervised altar boys for almost 50 years in various locations around Australia and New Zealand, exploiting his position of authority to sexually abuse them.

“I genuinely believe there would be thousands of victims out there,” said one former altar boy, who was abused by the friar in Sydney in the 1960s and ’70s. “He had access to altar boys for almost 50 years and it would appear he was never challenged.”

Brother Paschal joined the Order of the Friars Minor in the 1920s, moving through parishes in Victoria, Tasmania, New Zealand and Sydney, where he was at the Waverley parish on and off from the 1940s to the 1990s.

He had two lengthy periods of sick leave in the 1960s before returning to Waverley’s Mary Immaculate Church where students from nearby Waverley College were encouraged to serve as altar boys.

It was there the former altar boy, who has requested anonymity, first encountered the man he describes as “without moral scruples”.

Like many people who have suffered sexual abuse, he kept quiet about it for decades. After a private session with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, he arranged a meeting with the Franciscan Friars Provincial Office in Waverley this year.

The now middle-aged man was aware there were at least two other altar boys who were molested by Brother Paschal during his time at Waverley but he was convinced many more were yet to come forward about the friar, who died in 1994 without ever facing charges. He asked the Franciscan Friars to make a public statement about Brother Paschal to encourage others to seek support.

“I put to them that this was the tip of the iceberg,” he said.

“It had taken me significant time to come forward and that came at significant emotional cost. I said, ‘What about the other victims? You have to do something to ensure that there is care for these people. They would be contemplating suicide as we speak’.”

According to Catholic Church abuse advocacy group Broken Rites, the church’s Professional Standards Office was notified in 2002 about sex abuse allegations involving Brother Paschal and four boys.

The Franciscan Friars acknowledged the abuse but declined the man’s request for them to make a public statement about Brother Paschal via a letter from their lawyers, Makinson d’Apice​, last month.

“I got the impression they hoped I would just go away, and there were plenty of times I thought about that but, for me, a social justice imperative was at play,” he said. “There were crimes committed on their watch. They now have a responsibility to victims. To do nothing is pretty dreadful behaviour.”

The victim’s lawyer, John Ellis, well known for his own battles with the Catholic Church, agreed it was a disappointing response.

“The cynic in me would say from the church’s perspective there are only downsides to alerting people,” he said. “The more people know, the more people are likely to come forward, and then there will be a financial cost. It’s easier to simply bury their heads in the sand and view it as an isolated lapse.”

After being contacted by Fairfax Media last week, the Franciscan Friars promised to act.

In a statement, Provincial Minister Paul Smith wrote: “This will be implemented initially by naming Brother Paschal in the Waverley parish bulletin, and asking anyone with a claim of abuse against him to come forward. Similar announcements about sexual abuse will be made in other parishes where the Franciscans currently serve and we will also ask for an opportunity to do likewise in those parishes where we once ministered in past decades.”

He acknowledged the Franciscans’ Australian website needed a more prominent link to its professional standards statement and urged anyone who has been abused by a Franciscan friar to contact police or the Catholic Church’s Professional Standards Office.

Lifeline: 13 11 14.

Blue Knot Helpline: 1300 657 380.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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